Two weeks ago, we shared a post by Bettina Elias Siegel in which she broke the news about 540 Meals, a documentary based on an experiment conducted in 2013 and 2014 by John Cisna, an Iowa high school science teacher who lost weight eating nothing but McDonald’s for 90 days.
The documentary has been — and continues to be — shown to middle and high school students all over the United States.
The front page of today’s Washington Post has an excellent article by journalist Roberto Ferdman with more details.
- “McDonald’s has long tried to use its network of restaurants to win over kids, especially recently amid struggling U.S. sales. McDonald’s U.S. president Mike Andres told investors two years ago that franchise owners “have got to be in the schools.”
- “McDonald’s documentary of Cisna’s story, which has been watched by nearly 80,000 people online, is also pitched to schools by dietitians who work with the company. On Maryland PTA’s Web site, a letter [written by a dietitian] urges parents to ask their schools to show the documentary to them so that they “have the most current and accurate information about McDonald’s.”
- “They help teach the kids about choice, and how you can personalize what you want to eat,” Maryland PTA president Elizabeth Ysla Leight said. The lessons, she added, teach how students can modify their order at McDonald’s. Leight said the information was featured after McDonald’s sponsored the group’s annual conference this year. McDonald’s is one of her group’s most consistent supporters, but she declined to say how much it receives. McDonald’s and other supporters give the PTA money for basic educational materials.”
- “An accompanying teaching guide specifically recommends that teachers show the documentary when “Super Size Me” is part of the curriculums.”
- “The translation of this video, of this campaign, is that you can eat McDonald’s as much as you like,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University. “And they’re telling people to teach this to their kids? It leaves you breathless.”